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About This Site

This archive is a class project of Rebecca Onion‘s “Popular Culture and American Childhood” American Studies seminar at the University of Texas at Austin.


Childhood studies scholars who study popular culture often emphasize the need for academic work to include feedback from children about the influence of popular culture in their lives. College students are not children, but they are uniquely positioned to comment on their memories of the way that popular culture “worked” in their lives as young people; they can combine fresher memories of childhood with their powers of academic analysis to add something to our understanding of the dynamics of popular culture and childhood in America.


This “archive” project asks students to identify an object in popular culture (a toy, movie, TV show, book, food, etc etc) that corresponds with whatever theme we’re currently discussing in class, and then to explore its cultural significance while reflecting on their own experiences as children. Students write three object descriptions over the course of the semester. This site’s “categories” reflect the themes that prompted this writing; visit the “Explanation of Categories” page to learn more.


To see the assignment sheet that prompted the entries, visit this link.


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